The problem is that my parents are strict African traditional parents and the boy is not African and I just do not know what to do. He is in college for a nursing degree. My graduation is coming up and I want him to go. I don’t know how to go about this, please advise me.
In this counseling answer:
• If the person you are really interested in marrying is sincerely thinking about converting to Islam, you get him connected to an Imam (scholar) in the community and explain the situation to the Imam. InshaAllah, whatever will happen will be for the best.
• Until he becomes a Muslim, and the Imam has a good impression of this man, you need to keep a distance from him.
• Compatibility in marriage is very important. Therefore, you need to ensure that you both are on the same page in terms of education and goals and are willing to compromise, cooperate and be supportive of each other.
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to help you out in your situation.
Marriage is the most important part of an individual’s life, and questioning, reflecting and seeking advice is absolutely necessary.
In Islam, there are strict guidelines relating to marriage. A Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man. The rulings on this are explained in great details on here.
Therefore, in your case, I suggest that if the person you are really interested in marrying is sincerely thinking about converting to Islam, you get him connected to an Imam (scholar) in the community and explain the situation to the Imam. InshaAllah, whatever will happen will be for the best.
I strongly suggest that until he becomes a Muslim, and the Imam has a good impression of this man, you need to keep a distance from him. No messaging, no online conversations, and no meeting in person. An Imam’s job is to judge a potential individual for marriage and make recommendations based on the individual’s character, sincerity, faithfulness, and personality.
Getting him to convert first, then spend a few days with the Imam in order to learn about Islam and Allah and the Prophet Muhammed SAW is the most important priority for him. You need to ensure that he is not going to take advantage of your will to marry him, and then revert to his old life after marriage. There are many men who fool women, and after they have satisfied themselves, they will leave the women. Such are the cases happening these days dear sister, therefore you need to be skeptical and not be blinded by “love”.
Before this man can love you, he needs to love Allah first. He needs to understand Islam first. He needs to know why you are a Muslim and why it is important to you first. And this can be all achieved quite easily when you speak to your local Imam about this man’s intention to accept Islam and become a Muslim. The imam will guide him and teach him. In addition, if he really loves you, he will take your religion and your limitations seriously and respect the need to distance himself from you until he has become a Muslim, learned enough about Islam, and approached your parents with his parents to discuss sincerely.
Remember dear sister, our Prophet Muhammed SAW advised to marry the pious one. In Riyadh Al- Salihin, Prophet Muhammad is quoted to have said that:
“A person is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!”.
If all of this goes as planned, then you can talk to your parents about him. There are many issues pertaining to intercultural marriages these days in the Muslim community. Once the man you are interested in marrying has converted and the Imam has a good opinion of him and thinks it is a good match, then you need to educate your parents about marriage in Islam, not marriage as it has come to be defined by culture.
In addition, you would also need to speak to this man once he has converted and share your values in life, your goals and your principles with him, all within a supervised environment. If he has accepted Islam and approached your parents, then be certain that he is willing to take Islam and a potential relationship with you seriously.
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Dear sister, compatibility in marriage is very important. Therefore, you need to ensure that you both are on the same page in terms of education and goals and are willing to compromise, cooperate and be supportive of each other. Of course the converted brother will be needing a bit of help in terms of learning about Islam, but even so, you will need to ensure that you both are striving to reach a certain goal.
I am certain that your parents will not be calm at first. And this is when your patience will be tested, as well as your ability to keep calm and follow what is right when the situation makes it hard to do so. If you have siblings who you trust and are willing to share this with, then I advise that you also request them to speak with your parents. Sometimes this makes for an easy conversation and dissolves the fear.
Most importantly, you need to place your trust in Allah and not lose sight of what’s important when it becomes hard to get what you want when you want. Dear sister, you are a good person which is why you have approached someone to seek advice. The devil may trick you and make you fall prey to your desires and may force you do things you may regret. However, if you are patient and sincere and want to do what pleases Allah, the right thing will become easy.
In Sahih Bukhari, it is narrated that:
“The Messenger of Allah used to teach his Companions to perform Istikharah in all matters: ‘If anyone of you is contemplative about a decision he must make, then let him pray two Rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say the dua.”
Now, let me make this clear, many people believe that praying Istikhara (a prayer asking for guidance) or saying the supplication will somehow lead to a dream in which the answer can be interpreted. This is completely wrong. It is a means of guidance, and by persisting in asking Allah for his guidance He will steer you towards what is good for you and prevent the bad from happening.
If marriage with this individual is good for you in this world and in the hereafter, then Allah SWT will surely make it easy for you. However, if it is not a blessing for you in this world and in the next, then Allah SWT will guide you towards what is best. You must simply pray and Ask Allah to ease your affairs and give what is good and to have patience in the outcome even if it hurts you because you believe in what Allah has chosen.
However, it is disliked to ‘hasten’ in seeking the answer to one’s istikhara, like other supplications, because the Prophet ﷺ said, “Your prayers are answered, unless you hasten, saying, ‘I prayed, but no answer came.’” (Sunan Abu -Dawud)
Please remember that the core of being a Muslim is to put your absolute trust in Allah. Accordingly, once you perform the prayer of Istikhara, you need to follow the guidance of Allah whether it means pursuing or abandoning the intended action.
Allah SWT says in the Quran,
“And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Qur’an 65:3)
In addition, Allah SWT says in the Quran,
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Quran 2: 216)
Therefore, do not obsess over him. If it is meant to happen, it will happen. In the meantime, work hard on developing your relationship with Allah and the right event will happen at the right time, inshaAllah.
I hope my answer provided the guidance and solution you were looking for.
You must let your faith in Allah be greater than your fears.
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